Grants Support the Performing Arts in New England

Program offers flexibility in the era of COVID-19

Lee Mixashawn Rozie, photo by Jeffrey Filiault

Ann has long auburn hair. She's a white lady and she wears thick framed eyeglasses. She has gold earrings that dangle and a teal poncho.
Communications Director & Co-Accessibility Coordinator

The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) announces 100 awards of $389,542 to support 63 New England cultural organizations  and the 66 artists they are engaging.  The grants are part of the recently revamped New England States Touring (NEST) program.

The NEST program funds New England nonprofit organizations to engage artists to connect with the public,  and has been NEFA’s key mechanism to reach small cultural organizations and underserved communities and to support New England’s artists. In 2019, NEFA announced a merger of the Expeditions program into a new iteration of the NEST program; like its predecessor, the new NEST program continues to:

  • Build cultural vitality in New England by supporting the artistic excellence and diversity available from artists in New England, the nation, and across the globe.
  • Stimulate opportunities for collaboration and partnerships among New England cultural organizations and with artists.
  • Encourage projects that provide meaningful interaction between artists and communities, extending beyond the stage.  
  • Remove barriers to participation due to race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, and geography.

“Our aim was to increase access to this funding, and the new design has increased interest in the program. Highlights this year include awards to several first-time applicants as well as awarding grants to several of New England’s Native American artists,” said Adrienne Petrillo.

“We recognize the significant impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on the creative sector, and that project dates and activities are likely to shift. NEFA will support grant recipients to use funds flexibly to reimaging engagements and projects,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “Artists and cultural organizations bring our communities together and continue to plan while navigating the impact of COVID-19. These resources will support their work into the future.”

Learn more about the NEST grant recipients

Due to NEFA’s focus on response to the sector during the COVID-19 crisis, the previously announced NEST deadlines in August and December 2020 have shifted to one deadline on November 2, 2020, for projects occurring after January 1, 2021.  

NEFA’s New England States Touring program is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

About NEFA:

The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.  NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. NEFA is the U.S. Department of State’s primary partner for Center Stage. Learn more at


Contact: Ann Wicks, 617-951-0010 x534